An anonymous reader writes "Last weekend, during the Nuremberg Toy Fair 2012, I spotted a really cool new system for 'professional' RC models based on Embedded Linux. The WiRC allows you to control an RC car (or any other RC vehicle) with an iOS/Android device using WiFi. The core of this system is a 240 MHz ARM9 processor, with 16 MB SDRAM and 4 MB FLASH (with 2 USB ports and 802.11b/g WiFi, a microphone input and a Speaker output). It features 8+4 channels of output. A free software SDK is now in development to code your own transmitter applications."
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retroworks writes "Today's Science Daily reports on 5 new UN studies of used computer and electronics management in Africa. The studies find that about 85% of surplus electronics imports are reused, not discarded. Most of the goods pictured in 'primitive e-waste' articles were domestically generated and have been in use, or reused, for years. Africa's technology lifecycle for displays is 2-3 times the productive use cycle in OECD nations. Still, EU bans the trade of used technology to Africa, Interpol has describes 'most' African computer importers as 'criminals,' and U.S. bill HR2284 would do the same. Can Africa 'leapfrog' to newer and better tech? Or are geeks and fixers the appropriate technology for 83% of the world (non-OECD's population)? "
acadiel writes "Matthew H from the AtariAge.com TI-99/4A forum has finalized a design of a TMS 9918A replacement (with VGA out) for classic computer systems such as the ColecoVision, TI-99/4A, SpectraVision, MSX1, SpectraVision 128, and Tomy Tutor Home computers. This hardware project replaces the native video controller on these classic systems and enables them to have VGA output for the first time." (It's just under $100 to order one.)
THE_WELL_HUNG_OYSTER writes "Over the years, I've had numerous scanners equipped with automatic document feeders — and all of them jam or grab multiple pages at a time (thereby missing pages). Like you, I've got years of tax returns and legal documents to scan, but with these kinds of barriers, it would take months to scan everything. Enterprise-grade machines cost 5 figures. How do Slashdotters become paper-free?"
An anonymous reader writes with an update to the updated Openmoko phone that's long been in the works. From the story at Linux For Devices: "German manufacturer Golden Delicious has begun shipping a hackable open source smartphone that runs a variety of Linux software, including a newly optimized Openmoko distro. The Openmoko GTA04 is available as a finished phone or as a board that slips into earlier Openmoko Neo Freerunner GTA01 and GTA02 cases, providing an 800MHz Texas Instruments DM3730 processor and a full range of sensors and wireless features." It's rather expensive for a mid-range Android phone, but far more interesting than fairly ordinary phones decked out with bling.
An anonymous reader writes "Doug Engelbart should be known to everyone on Slashdot — he did invent the mouse after all, among many other inventions all of us rely on today. There was one more obscure device he came up with that never really took off, though. It was called the Chorded Keyboard, and consisted of a system that allowed you to type using just one hand. The key to this system was finger combinations, which allowed up to 32 different characters — more than enough for the alphabet. Now that one-handed keyboard has been ported to work with touchscreens, and it could end up being quite popular. The key benefit is the fact you can type anywhere on the screen and don't even need to see where you are typing. The only difficulty is learning all the key combos, but once you have them cold you may be able to type faster than with two hands on your smartphone or tablet." Bonus: being software-only and open-source, it's much cheaper than a Twiddler.
mikejuk writes "The UK's National Museum of Computing has come up with a novel idea to raise funds for its new gallery for its rebuilt Colossus computer — you can sponsor a valve. All you have to do is buy a small area in a picture of Colossus (at £0.1 per pixel — min £10), upload a picture to occupy the space, set a URL and pay using PayPal."
An anonymous reader writes "I just received 3 'refurbished' SATA drives from Newegg. All 3 had some sort of existing partition. Most appeared to be factory diagnostic partitions, but one had a full Dell Windows XP install complete with customer data. How big a deal is this? Should I contact someone besides Newegg about this?"
MrSeb writes with this selection from ExtremeTech: "Why doesn't Google offer a cloud storage service to rival Dropbox, Box.net, or Microsoft's SkyDrive? Google has the most internet-connected servers in the world, the largest combined storage of any web company, and already offers photo storage (Picasa), document storage (Docs), music storage (Music), but for some reason it has never offered a unified Google Drive. According to people familiar with the matter, however, our wait is almost over: Google's Hard Drive In The Sky is coming soon, possibly 'within weeks.' Feature-wise, it sounds like Google Drive will be comparable to Dropbox, with free basic storage (5GB?) and additional space for a yearly fee."
savuporo writes "Well known Boston Dynamics BigDog prototype now has a bigger brother named 'LS3' or Legged Squad Support System. It's intended to carry heavy loads for long treks and have enough autonomy to follow soldiers around, listen to voice commands and navigate autonomously."
mdsolar writes "The Washington Post is reporting on the NRC response to the Fukushima disaster. Aspects include an abusive relationship with Steven Chu, a secret database on fuel pool fires that was not shared, and a Washington Two Step on Vermont Yankee. Pretty sordid." The NRC website has a bunch of documents relating to their response and attempts to consult the Japanese government (it might take a few months to work through). On a related note, The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists ran a retrospect on the nuclear situation in 2011.
MrSeb writes "Hold onto your hats: Scientists at the University of York, England have completely rewritten the rules of magnetic storage (abstract; full paper paywalled). Instead of switching a magnetic region using a magnetic field (like a hard drive head), the researchers have managed to switch a ferrimagnetic nanoisland using a 60-femtosecond laser. Storing magnetic data using lasers is up to 1,000 times faster than writing to a conventional hard drive (we're talking about gigabytes or terabytes per second) — and the ferrimagnetic nanoislands that store the data are capable of storage densities that are some 15 times greater than existing hard drive platters. Unfortunately the York scientists only detailed writing data with lasers; there's no word on how to read it."
New submitter jjslash writes "The hard disk drive supply chain was hit hard late last year when a series of floods struck Thailand. The Asian country accounts for about a quarter of the world's hard drive production, but thousands of factories had to close shop for weeks as facilities were under water, in what is considered the world's fourth costliest natural disaster according to World Bank estimates. That's on top of the human cost of over 800 lives. TechSpot has monitored a number of mobile and desktop HDDs to get a better overview of how the situation has developed in the last three months."
Hugh Pickens writes "With Verizon's 4G network covering a good chunk of the country and AT&T gaining ground, more smartphone users have access to the fastest wireless service available. But because 4G coverage isn't truly continuous in many locations, users' batteries are taking a big hit with 4G, as phones spend an lot of battery power trying to hunt down a signal. 'You've got a situation where the phones are sending out their signals searching and searching for a 4G tower, and that eats up your battery,' says Carl Howe, a vice president for research firm Yankee Group. The spottiness of 4G stems at least in part from the measured approach carriers have taken to it, rolling out the service city by city. There are a few tricks 4G users can try to extend battery life such as turning off your 4G connection when you don't need the fastest speeds — when using email, for instance — or using a program such as JuiceDefender to search for apps you may have downloaded that you don't need to run all the time, and erase them."
An anonymous reader writes "The Nouveau driver project that's been writing an open-source NVIDIA graphics driver via reverse-engineering has moved forward in their support. The Nouveau driver now has OpenCL acceleration support to do GPGPU computing on the open-source community driver for several generations of GeForce GPUs."